Songs of love and exile

musicians:Izhar Elias and Channa Malkin (soprano)
A Sephardic Journey
released:september 2019
price:€ 10,-

This album is an anthology of popular Sephardic songs completed with excerpts from a rare song collection by Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco.

The selection of Sephardic songs they have made ranges between subjects of love, war, birth and death: epic tales sung by medieval Spanish bards, Jewish liturgical melodies and texts, and Arabic styles of melodic ornamentation. Malkin and Elias have made their own arrangements, letting the music guide them intuitively and drawing inspiration from their backgrounds in early music, Jewish cantorial singing and Spanish folk song interpretation, as well as their personal family histories.

Their selection also includes several Sephardic songs arranged by contemporary composers, in order to explore the ways in which this music can be performed as classical art song. Israeli composer, guitarist and Sephardic song expert Daniel Akiva, Spanish composer and conductor Lorenzo Palomo and Joaquín Rodrigo each offer a unique take on the Sephardic song idiom. So does the Italian-American composer Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco: his collection of The Divan of Moses-Ibn-Ezra sets the poetry of an 11th-century rabbi from Grenada.

Sepharad, today’s Spain and Portugal, held a large Jewish population since at least the 8th century. During the Moorish occupation the Sephardic Jews enjoyed a degree of religious freedom unheard of in Europe at the time, taking part in the rich social and intellectual life of the day.
The musical tradition was passed on by the women, who were kept at home among themselves. The music was the result of the cultural melting pot of the day, a mix of the epic tales sung by medieval Spanish bards, Jewish liturgical melodies and Arabic styles of melodic ornamentation. The language was Judaeo-Spanish, a mix of Spanish and Hebrew.
On this new recording the traditional songs come in arrangements by contemporary composers as well as by the artists themselves.
Both artists, soprano Channa Malkin and guitarist Izhar Elias, share a Jewish ancestry, deeply rooted in the widely spread Jewish settlements of Central Europe and the Middle East.

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